KentuckyAlimony Guide - Spousal Support Laws
Kentucky Alimony Guide :: Table of Contents
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered provision of financial support a spouse for after a divorce. Alimony laws vary considerably from state to state, and courts often have significant flexibility on a case-by-case basis in determing whether to award alimony, how much alimony to award, and how long alimony payments will continue.
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What is the Process in Filing for Alimony?
In the state of Kentucky, during or after the proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, a spouse may file for maintenance, or the court may grant it if the spouse is absent during the proceeding. There are many factors involved in a maintenance order, otherwise known as alimony, but the main point of consideration by the court is whether or not both spouses are capable of maintaining the standard of living established during the marriage independently of each other. If one spouse is found to be in sufficient need of support, the court may grant it.
The estates, incomes and earning abilities of both spouses will be taken into consideration by the court. The court will take into consideration any marital property distributed to both spouses. The court may find any property obtained before the marriage or independent of the marriage, such as from inheritance, irrelevant to the case but only if the property was not used for the benefit of the marriage. The earning capacities of both parties include their current level of education, training, employment, potential income, age, physical and mental health, and employment experience. If the dependent spouse was unemployed for an extended period of time in order to contribute to the well being of the marriage, other spouse, or any children, it will contribute to the consideration for maintenance payments.
The financial responsibilities of both parties to themselves and any dependents will be taken into consideration. If the dependent spouse has dependents that are of the age of mental capacity that requires the spouse to forgo employment, the court will take it into consideration.
The court may take into consideration any other facts that have been deemed relevant to the case. If parties had any prior agreements or contracts pertaining to maintenance, it will also be considered. In the end, the decision of maintenance support is up to the judge and court ruling the case.
In the state of Kentucky, a number of factors are taken into account when calculating the amount and duration of alimony or spousal support payments.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating alimony?
Kentucky has a defined list of factors, described in statutory law, that are legally required to be considered by a judge when determining alimony payments. These factors may be directly connected to the alimony calculation formula.
Is marital fault considered in Kentucky alimony?
Kentucky does not consider marital fault when determining alimony payments. This means that divorces considered "at-fault" due to cheating or infidelity, abuse, or other factors do not affect the calculation of alimony payments.
Is standard of living considered in Kentucky alimony?
Standard of living is considered when calculating alimony payments in the state of Kentucky. This means that a judge will consider the lifestyle enjoyed by the alimony-receiving spouse during the duration of the marriage when determining an appropriate alimony payment amount.
Is custodial status considered when determining alimony in the state of Kentucky?
The judge in the state of Kentucky considers custodial status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children, and custodial spouses may receive higher alimony payments.
How exactly is alimony calculated in the state of Kentucky?
Calculation of alimony is generally done on a case-by-case basis by the Kentucky family court judge who is responsible for the case. While some states have a fixed alimony calculation formula, in most cases the final amount and duration of alimony awarded (if alimony is awarded) is at the discretion of the judge.
- How long must alimony be paid?
- The duration of payments is determined by a judge in Kentucky family court. Alimony length is usually based on length of marriage - one commonly used standard for alimony duration is that 1 year of alimony is paid every three years of marriage (however, this is not always the case in every state or with every judge). Alimony may also be discontinued upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse. In some cases, judges may even award permanent alimony.
- What happens if alimony isn't paid?
- If alimony is unpaid, the owed debt is known as alimony arrears. Arrears can be collected via mediation, small claims court, or wage garnishment. Failure to comply with a court-issued spousal support order may also result in a contempt of court charge against the spouse who failed to pay owed alimony.
- Can alimony be waived by a prenuptual agreement?
- A prenup agreement is a contract between spouses regarding marriage-related financial matters signed prior to marriage. Limitation or waiving rights to alimony is a frequent clause in modern prenuptual agreements, but some states or localities prohibit such alimony waivers.
- Can alimony be collected if you're not married?
- The legal concept of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is dependant upon a legal marriage. However, in some areas - especially those with a concept of common-law marriage - "palimony", or support payments between non-married individuals, has been awarded by courts. However, this generally requires extenuating circumstances.
- What is alimony mediation?
When a marriage ends through divorce and alimony is expected to be paid, spouses have the choice to determine an alimony agreement either through litigation (in Kentucky family court) or through mutual agreement. Often, a Kentucky alimony mediator can be brought in to help the ex-spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding alimony and other contested issues such as property division, and thus avoid having to go to court.
- How are alimony payments taxed?
On a federal level, all qualifying Kentucky alimony payments are deductible by the payor, and counted as taxable income by the recipient. To qualify as alimony under IRS guidelines, the following must be true:
- The payments are in cash
- The parties live in seperate households
- The payments are strictly for alimony (as opposed to for child support, etc)
Taxation of alimony varies on a state and local level. You can learn more about Kentucky income taxes here .